Here’s Why Humor is So Important in the Workplace
There is a right way to use it
Yesterday, particularly tired and stressed from a night of insomnia, I sat down on a comfy couch at the Thrive Global offices, desperately trying to eek out coherent sentences for a story. I was feeling half alive when my co-worker Alex, whose charisma and easy laugh could make a funeral fun, plopped down beside me with a mischievous look in her eye, jokingly “pitching” a story on what to do if you pass gas in a meeting. We laughed like mad hyenas. To say that this silly exchange revived me is an understatement — it thoroughly catapulted me out of my funk. Little did I know, humor (and its byproduct, laughter) contains a whole host of benefits in the workplace.
Decades worth of studies demonstrate that humor can reduce anxiety, stress, depression and increase creativity, energy levels and productivity. Similarly, laughter boosts our immune system, decreases stress, and triggers a pleasing endorphin rush.
With stress and burnout at peak levels across corporate America, humor might be the underutilized resource we need at work. “A good laugh can be refreshing and relieve tension, which is a great advantage in the workplace,” Barbara Plester, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in the School of Business and Economics at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of Laugh Out Loud: A User’s Guide to Workplace Humor, tells Thrive. “Humor can also create bonding and camaraderie and break the ice between people,” she emphasizes.
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